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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday June 20th 2024

Movie Corner: Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Celluloid Dreams

4/5 stars


a photo of the author
Howard McQuitter II

Luxembourg, Luxembourg is one of the 50 plus films I saw at the 2023 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival at the St. Anthony Main Theater. It is one of those events in the city that brings out many people. This year marks the 42nd year of the largest film festival in Minnesota. The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul (MSP Film) was founded in 1962. The late Al Milgrom (died in 2020 at age 98) did the groundwork for this wonderful film festival. Like myself, he was a true cinephile but he was also a director, writer and producer of films.

Celluloid Dreams

Luxembourg, Luxembourg starts out with two identical twin brothers Vasya and Kolya (Ramil and Amil Nasirov) as kids playing risky pranks in the train yard to the commentary of voiceover saying such things as, “They say that when a son looks like mother, he is born happy. Even though we are twins, Vasya looks like our mother, I look like my dad.” Fast forward twenty years, the dad is absent from the picture. His abandonment from their lives (no clear reason is given why he left) impacted both brothers, but Kolya is much more interested in his father’s whereabouts than Vasya is. (In real life Kolya and Vasya are Ukrainian rappers with a group called Kurgan & Agregat.)
These twin brothers couldn’t be more different. Vasya is in law enforcement, looking for a promotion, married to Masha (Karina Cherchevych) and just had their firstborn. On the other hand, Kolya is a van driver (a job he hates) who picks up mostly retirees, but also is a low-level drug dealer. He lands in legal trouble when he accidently pulls the van away causing a bread factory worker trying to get into the van to fall and break both her arms.
Seemingly out of the blue, the family receives a call from the Ukrainian consulate in Luxembourg that the father is in the hospital in Luxembourg and cannot speak. Kolya is eager to go find him thinking this could be his last goodbye; Vasya is more reluctant to go, but eventually concedes. They get into their car hoping to find him before he dies. Kolya ends up stuck in Luxembourg because he faces arrest if he returns to Ukraine.

Cast: Ramil Nasirov (Vasya), Amil Nasirov (Kolya), Lyudmyla Sachenko (Larysa Petrivna), Adrian Suleiman (7 year old Kolya), Damian Suleiman (7 year old Vasya), Anna Alsheva (Receptionist).
Director and Screenplay: Antonio Lukich. Cinematographer: Misha Lubarsky.
Composer: Maria Nesterenko. Country: Ukraine.
Language: Ukrainian.
Running time: 105 minutes.

Howard McQuitter II is a longtime movie critic. He has been reviewing movies for the alley since 2002.

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